Education is vital to a strong democracy, not only to provide valuable knowledge and skills for job opportunities, but perhaps even more importantly, to provide the knowledge and skills necessary to be an informed citizen deeply involved in our democratic process.
I therefore believe education needs to be a fundamental right of all Americans, from pre-K thru college and even graduate school. It is in our best interests to have a highly educated population and well worth the investment. We should be doing more to ensure underserved communities get the help they need to have the best school districts possible.
- Use fair funding for K-12 instead of individual property taxes. Our current educational funding system relies heavily on an unfair system of local property taxes. Property taxes can be difficult for some individuals on a fixed income to afford, and changing property values and real estate markets can drastically affect a school's funding over time, leaving some school districts with very little funding. We should switch away from property taxes on individual homeowners, and instead use a state-level fair funding formula based on a progressive income tax and fair corporate taxes. State funding should be directed to the schools with the most need first.
- Give teachers a raise and stop expecting them to buy their own supplies. Teachers deserve a raise and should never have to buy class supplies out of pocket. I support state funding to ensure schools are actually funded at the correct level to afford needed supplies and that are teachers are paid salary and benefits that are fair for the important public service they provide.
- Tuition-free public trade schools, colleges, and universities. Most jobs today require some training or education beyond the high school level. I support enacting tuition-free public post-secondary education for everyone, including "non-traditional" students looking to change careers. This is an investment in our citizens that pays back society and is well worth the cost. Plus, it actually is cheaper to directly pay for education than to continue to fund the failing student loan industry. There's no reason not to do it. The Pennsylvania Promise is one proposal that I would support.
- Tuition-free public medical schools. Many doctors have hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt at interest rates well above mortgage rates. Doctors must charge higher fees in order to make the money necessary to pay the high interest on such a large debt. I propose we lower stress on doctors and lower medical costs by ending student debt on medical degrees. We should treat it as an investment in our medical system and provide tuition-free public medical schools to qualified students in exchange for inexpensive high-quality services being offered to the community.
- End student debt and provide debt forgiveness to past students. Student loan debt for all students is a net drain on our economy and holds back people from realizing their full potential. While the most appropriate solution is a federal debt relief program, I will investigate ways of making this happen at the state level.
- Support a balanced, broad curriculum at all levels. As a mathematician and scientist, I am very supportive of efforts to build more "STEAM" (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) programs in schools, but I do want to also make sure our schools are are not leaving out other important subjects. We need more history, philosophy, languages, cultural studies, too, in order to be informed and thoughtful participants in democracy. I will strongly support funding to ensure a broad curriculum of educational oppportunities. We should ensure our STEAM classes emphasize learning skills and modern mathematics and computer science concepts rather than just doing "coding" work. Our high school mathematics curriculum is still stuck in the 1800s, and needs modernization for concepts like applied logic, abstract algebra, and complexity and algorithms.